Posts Tagged ‘debate and discussion’

The spectacle is hypersensitive to its own needs.

November 4, 2007

The spectacle is hypersensitive to its own needs. This is something of an understatement — its means and its ends are one and the same. But its physical diction over men, lonely crowds ruled and united solely by their own economy, allows it to shift its locus and blur its tracks so that any analysis of its history becomes discredited by the present.

When labour is reorganised to accomodate for automation, the commodity produced is both immaterial and fundamental to the spectacle, a contradiction which reflects its nature as having its own non-realisation as the only permissable goal. In colonised territories, hyperdeveloped societies at the periphery of spectacular absolution distort the native population to the point that every continued aspect of their unintegrated existence becomes a commodity, along with each negation in turn. This produces unique markets, accompanied by their typical dialogues, which, as well as buttressing the reigning order — as do all other commodities — can become exports to serve any needs of the spectacle across the planet. Whether these needs — the drive for “homeland security,” for example — arose because of the repercussions of commodifying colonisation or not is impossible to distinguish, as our orders are perpetually articulated a step ahead of our awareness.


Hear me out.

November 4, 2007

While this may discrdedt my arguement, I draw my conclusions from the universe of Star Trek. Hear me out.

In the Star Trek universe, human beings no longer work for the pursuit of money or material gains. This shift in attachment to physical objects stemmed from the invention of the replicator and the elimination of the need to work to provide sustinence. Once the basic needs of the population was met, society shifted.

Now, take that point, that changes in attitudes towards money and accumulation of wealth can only change when the means of acquiring that wealth changes. No longer were people defined by what they did or what they had, but by who they were. When no one was starving and everyone had shelter and clothing readily available to them, not to mention that any luxury items were a click away, the world was a better place.

Now lets assume we extend that model to our own universe. If the government places itself in a position where it provides all the necessities of life to its population, regardless of social class or wealth, then materialism diminsihes. People are happier and more content with themselves when they know that they are not being forced into an unhappy situation so they can simply survive. No one should have to be put into a situation like that.

Once the government starts to provide universal health care, reduce or eliminate rent in many developing communities, and increase funding and access to food re-distribution programs then the general population will become happier and move more towards a society that would accept socialist rule.

Basically, we can’t change the way people act without first changing the conditions they are in.

Another aside:

November 4, 2007

If you don’t mind, I’d like to take the discussion back to this point. One of the critiques to command economies is that central planners (no matter how benevolent) lack the capability to efficiently allocate resources (input, labor and capital) towards the production of goods of value (private and public). This ‘lack of capability’ is because economic decision making is centralized under a single bureau or institution rather than between millions of private firms and households (like in a decentralized market system). It’s mainly a computational problem that has to do with an overload of information rather than the lack of perfect information. It has been said earlier that communism may have never had a fair chance because it didn’t have access to computers or information technology and I think there is some truth to this.

A stronger critique (I think) is that command economies suffer from agency problems . These problems arise when there’s a significant incentive for managers to simply lie to the owners of the means of production. Under capitalism, it’s when CEO’s lie on accounting statements and under communism it’s when factory managers lie to the government. Even if your democratically elected communist leader had the purest of intentions, even he needs accurate information as to how many inputs each factory is to get to meet his quota. Factories have significant incentive to under-report capacity to make quotas easier to attain and to avoid the steep punishment for not being able to meet them. Communes have an incentive to lie about their census to receive more resources from the government. In the end, what does this mean for the central planners? Any forecasting model can only work as well as the quality of the information put into it (garbage-in garbage-out as computer scientists would say) so the lack of quality information received by economic planners severely hampers efficiency which in the end translates into corruption.

Both types of problems are magnified once the economy becomes more sophisticated and intricate because the oversight mechanisms themselves could collude with factory managers. This is why I believe the USSR, China and Vietnam eventually switched to decentralized, open economies but Cuba and North Korea didn’t (or still havn’t) Note their relative sizes in terms of population.

As an aside (because this is a thread about the shortcomings of communism, not capitalism): large corporations and multinationals under capitalism have similar analogous accounting problems (world com et al), it’s just that most of the economy isn’t run by them (yet). Also, these problems are mitigated since there’s an incentive to under AND over-report financial statements. One is for tax purposes, and the other is to make your company stock look better. When stock options come into play however, that’s a different story.

I agree with McCaine when he says that ideologically based decisions aren’t unique to communism nor are bad policy decisions. But someone else on this thread already mentioned that bad policy decisions under communism/a command economy has a much worst effect than a decentralized/market one. This is because the functions of decision making and resource allocation are covered with a high degree of redundancy under a market system so if one firm fails or goes bankrupt due to bad decisions or misallocation of capital, not everyone suffers and only the people who made the poor decisions suffer for their mistakes.

Another aside: There are many policies in the States and elsewhere that is highly motivated by economic ideology rather than practicality. Many people would vote lower taxes despite the fact that taxes fund social programs that benefit the majority of the population at the cost of the minority of the rich simply because it is the complete opposite of socialism or the stigma of communism.

The freedoms and transmissions of open dialogue

November 4, 2007

The freedoms and transmissions of open dialogue are a testament to a society that holds if at least it’s own founded beliefs sacred.  The actual methods of political interchange between politicians, lobbyists, and especially the public, are demeaning to the system, and the reliance on psychological manipulation and subversion and not the open deliberation of ideas is jawdropping.  In a system that has been so bureaucratized that it has lost complete relevance to its intended purpose, you have to wonder when it will ever change to represent more than pushing capitol and arrogance.

In what you can read in history books, by no means has the US democracy been errorless, but it’s easy to see that in relation to the previous eras of the country where it continued to evolve in a manner that reflected the ideas of the day and intentions, this one is perversely manipulated by an absolute undermining of the system that was established to keep it fair and intelligible.

Opening the ability to “wire-spy” on anyone does not seem like a step backwards, but a step in a different direction of progression towards a much less democratic state.  I agree that it is a failure on the part of the democratic representation to sell their liberty for a chance of security.  Perhaps the own freedoms of democracy are inherently subject to the exploitation of itself.